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Aurora College funds restored, school to undergo review

The Government of the Northwest Territories has decided not to cut Aurora College’s budget for next year.

But the future of the college’s teacher education and social work programs is still very much in the air.

RELATED: $4.8M in adjustments added to 2017-2018 NWT budget

RELATED: Aurora not consulted on cuts, says former board member

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Even though Finance Minister Robert C. McLeod has committed to deferring $669,000 in reductions identified in the current budget, it won’t change anything for people trying to get into either program.

That’s because there won’t be any intake for the two programs as the college undergoes a ‘fundamental review’.

“While we believe these were appropriate decisions, we also recognize that a more fundamental review of Aurora College is an important and necessary step,” McLeod told MLAs Friday.

“We will, however, make the commitment at this time to defer Aurora College reductions related to the teacher education program and the social work program identified for 2017-2018.”

Education Minister Alfred Moses says seven students are currently enrolled in one-year access programs for the two programs.

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He says staff at the college have been working with those students to find similar programs at other institutions.

Meanwhile, students already registered in the teacher education and social work programs will be able to complete their program in the years ahead.

So, what happens now?

Even though the government has committed to deterring reductions for now, that doesn’t mean the two programs are in the clear.

RELATED: Yellowknifers protest cuts to Aurora College programs

McLeod told Moose FM a fundamental review will be conducted by the end of the year to determine their futures.

“At the end of the review, depending on what the review says, if there’s some merit to keeping the programs then we would have to consider that,” he said.

“The fundamental review is going to include all of Aurora College … which includes the teacher education program and the social work program.”

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Moses added: “Moving forward in the direction that we are taking as a government, we are going to sit down with Aurora College and look at the two programs that were in question.

“We will work with our staff to make sure that we do provide quality education that is efficient and effective for our students, but that is going to come with the review as we move forward.”

McLeod made the announcement on Friday while promising another $4.8 million in adjustments.

MLAs are expected to officially vote on the budget Monday.

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